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The Tundra. Whew! It’s cold here!. The definition. The word tundra derives from the Finnish word for barren or treeless land. The tundra is the simplest biome in terms of species composition and food chains. . Where is the Tundra?. Locations.

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the tundra

The Tundra

Whew! It’s cold here!

the definition
The definition
  • The word tundra derives from the Finnish word for barren or treeless land. The tundra is the simplest biome in terms of species composition and food chains.
  • High Arctic Tundra: essentially confined to the islands of the Arctic Ocean.
  • Middle Arctic Tundra: restricted to the Arctic Coastal plain.
  • Low Arctic Tundra: the majority of the tundra lies on better drained slopes with greater depth to permafrost than is encountered on the Arctic coastal plain.
  • Alpine Tundra: many tundra species can be found at high elevations in the mountains of the northern hemisphere.
  • Due to the high latitude conditions the effects of climate impact life in this biome include
  • extremely short growing season (6 to 10 weeks)
  • long, cold, dark winters (6 to 10 months with mean monthly temperatures below 32° F or 0° C.)
  • low precipitation (less than five inches/year) coupled with strong, drying winds. Snowfall is actually advantageous to plant and animal life as it provides an insulating layer on the ground surface
fauna who lives here anyway
Fauna - Who lives here anyway?
  • polar bears
  • musk ox
  • artic foxes
  • ptarmigan
  • arctic hare
  • lemming
  • snowy owl
  • Many migratory birds
how can they live here
How can they live here?
  • Morphological adaptations
      • large, compact bodies following Bergmann's and Allen's rules
      • a thick insulating cover of feathers or fur
      • pelage and plumage that turns white in winter, brown in summer
  • Physiological adaptations
      • ability to accumulate thick deposits of fat during the short growing season. Fat acts as insulation and as a store of energy for use during the winter, when animal species remain active.
  • Population adaptations
      • cyclical fluctuations in population size, best seen perhaps in the lemming, a small rodent which is the major herbivore in the tundra's simple food chain. Predator populations and plant populations respond in kind to the peaks and crashes of the herbivore populations.
  • Migrate to escape the most severe conditions of winter. They only return to the tundra to breed.
flora who lives here anyway
Flora – Who lives here anyway?
  • Lichens
  • Mosses
  • Sedges
  • perennial forbs
  • dwarfed shrubs

(often heaths, but also birches and willows).

how can they live here1
How can they live here?
  • Ground hugging to stay warm
    • tussock-forming graminoids
    • mats or cushion plants, often evergreen members of the heath family
    • rosettes
    • dwarf shrubs, some of which are deciduous in habit
  • Few large trees due to permafrost
  • No true soil is developed in this biome due to the permafrost that exists for most of the year preventing tree growth.
  • It melts during the warmer months contributing to strong controls on vegetation patterns and create a mosaic of microhabitats and plant communities.
human impact
Human Impact
  • Oil and gas exploration
  • Global climate change